Reston Spring

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Cuccinelli: Metrorail could hit funding snag, Washington Times, December 8, 2011

Anticipates General Assembly will not approve $150M for Dulles project

By David Sherfinski
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II is betting against the General Assembly approving $150 million for the Dulles Metrorail project — a prospect that would throw a wrench into months of delicate negotiations among stakeholders who have finally reached a tentative accord on its financing. . .
. . . “I would oppose putting a single penny of state dollars to bail out Phase 2,” he said. “I hope that legislators will not agree to spend the $150 million.” . . .
The prospect of the state contributing to Phase 2 of Silver Line construction has always been an "iffy" proposition at best, both with Gov. McDonnell's weak endorsement of the aid contingent on limiting any PLA provisions in the Phase 2 contract and the partisan divide within the state assembly.   Gov. McDonnell's position was to put forth a proposal to the state assembly that Virginia help pay for debt financing in the first five years of Phase 2 financing to the tune of $150 million.   In the scheme of things, $150 million is about one percent of the total cost of financing the Silver Line--which could run $12-$15 billion over the next 30-50 years depending on whose estimates you use for debt servicing costs.

Because Virginia's contribution, if any, would go to pay debt servicing and not directly figure in the construction cost formula, it is unlikely that a decision by the Virginia assembly not to contribute to Phase 2 would alone scuttle the project directly.  It remains to be seen, however, whether a Virginia withdrawal from the LaHood pact would mean the US Department of Transportation would also scuttle its agreement to offer cheap TIFIA financing to the other funding partners.  And Loudoun County also remains hesitant about participating in the Phase 2 effort.  All that could unravel the LaHood MOA despite the small size of the potential TIFIA contribution--about $315 million--and Loudoun's limited planned contribution (4.8%) to the cost of building the Silver Line. 

For the rest of this Washington Times article, click here

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